The model to unhappiness:
Rarely something is really rocket-science but it takes one person to put something into the right words and it makes “click”. So did Dr. Srikumar Rao, when he described the If-Then Model. (Full disclosure: He is actually a Happiness Guru.)
The reason it clicked with me the short speech by Dr. Rao, was a core question I have had in my mind for a couple of weeks now: Why can we not just be? Without goals? Should that not be enough? Can we not just be happy as is? Must we set goals all the time?
Back to Dr. Rao’s description of what he calls the “If-Then” Model. He observes human beings fighting against what they have by wanting something else. Example 1: I need to find a partner, to have great sex. Then I am happy. Example 2: I need my kids to go to Harvard or Ivy League school, then I’ll be happy. — If those “goals” how I would call them, do not happen, and we already pre-defined that our happiness is measured by us reaching the goal, the end result will be: Not happy. So what can you do? Dr. Rao reminds us of situations where we just were in awe, e.g. we saw this beautiful valley. He suggests, that at this moment, we fully accepted the moment as is.
Meditation can be good, unless you use it reverse
In Vipassana Meditation (I will post my 10-day Vipassana experience at some stage and link it), we are taught, to stay equanimous. The theory is that we neither crave the beautiful feelings nor try to avoid negative feelings. Ever tried to not focus on that pain in your leg? Trying to fight it? And what happened? Yes, it seems to get more intense, the more you fight it. And what about love or the beautiful feelings? As soon as you start chasing it, they vanish. You might wonder, that we turn into an emotion-less human something 🙂 — I thought that, as well. Truth to be told: We’ll always feel, though. Staying equanimous empowers us to be more the observer and respond, rather than react. We just accept what is, without trying to chase or avoid it.
Connecting the 2 lessons above, we learn that there are 2 good ways to increase our unhappiness:
- Set goals (the higher the better) and make sure that our happiness depends on us achieving them!
- Crave all positive feelings because you never know when they are back AND fight as hard as we can against negative emotions because you know, they are painful.
Just in case, if you – like me – prefer to be on the happier side, I HIGHLY recommend trying the opposite of what I just wrote 😉
Being happier can be a choice!
P.S. You can find Dr. Rao’s video speech (4.34min) here
Reflection: What motivated me today to write this post
I came down with a big cold a week ago. I first thought it is nothing. But hey! So I am writing today, this morning, feeling the first today ok-ish again. I am writing this, not to get your sympathy, but to let you those of you know, who wonder about starting your own blog: When should I start writing?The answer is now. Feeling a little sick is not an excuse. 🙂
Also, this morning I received a message from a very good friend of mine. It contained a video. A video that explains us the model to be unhappy. That is the inspiration for this quick post.